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18/Nov/2022

If you and your partner are trying to conceive, you may be looking for ways to increase your sperm count. Although there are medical treatments available, there are also some natural methods you can try. Here are 10 ways to increase sperm count naturally.

1. Eat foods rich in antioxidants

Antioxidants are nutrients that help protect your cells from damage. They’re found in many foods, including fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. Some studies have found that certain antioxidants may improve sperm count and quality. One study found that men who took 2,000 IU of vitamin E daily for 84 days had significantly higher sperm counts than those who took a placebo.
Vitamin C is another antioxidant that’s been studied for its effects on sperm count. One small study found that men who took 1,000 mg of vitamin C daily for 2 weeks had higher sperm counts than those who didn’t take the supplement.

2. Get enough vitamin D

Vitamin D is important for many aspects of health, including fertility.  A vitamin D deficiency has been linked with low testosterone levels and poor semen quality. One study found that men with vitamin D deficiencies had lower levels of testosterone and poorer semen quality than those who had sufficient levels of vitamin D. Another study found that taking a vitamin D supplement improved semen quality in men with vitamin D deficiencies. If you think you might be deficient in vitamin D, talk to your doctor about being tested and taking a supplement if necessary.

3. Eat more fatty fish

Fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, and herring are good sources of omega-3 fatty acids which are important for many aspects of health, including fertility. Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to improve semen quality in men with fertility problems. One study found that taking an omega-3 supplement improved sperm motility and morphology in men with low sperm counts . Another study found similar results , but only in men with normal or slightly low sperm counts.
If you don’t eat fish, you can get omega-3s from flaxseeds or take an omega-3 supplement. Just be sure to talk to your doctor before taking any supplements since they can interact with certain medications.

4. Get enough zinc

Zinc is an essential mineral that’s important for many aspects of health, including fertility . It’s needed for the production of testosterone and other hormones involved in reproduction. A zinc deficiency has been linked with low testosterone levels, poor semen quality, and increased risks of infertility. One study found that taking a zinc supplement improved fertility in men with zinc deficiencies. Another study showed that taking a zinc supplement increased testosterone levels and improved semen quality in infertile men. Good food sources of zinc include oysters, beef, lamb, pumpkin seeds, and dark chocolate.

5. Limit your alcohol intake

Alcohol consumption has been linked with decreased testosterone levels, poor semen quality, and increased risks of infertility. One study showed that moderate alcohol intake (up to three drinks per week) was associated with lower risks of infertility but heavy drinking (more than three drinks per week) was associated with higher risks of infertility.  Another study showed that alcohol consumption was associated with lower semen quality but did not affect testosterone levels or the percentage of abnormal sperm. Therefore, it’s best to limit your alcohol intake if you’re trying to conceive or talk to your doctor about quitting altogether if you’re struggling with fertility issues.

6. Get regular exercise

Exercise helps to improve blood circulation, which in turn can improve your sperm count. A study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that men who exercised regularly had higher sperm counts than those who didn’t exercise at all.

7. Reduce stress levels

Stress has been shown to have a negative impact on male fertility. In a study by Shebl et al. (2015), it was found that men who were under stress had a lower sperm count than those who were not. This is likely due to the hormonal changes that occur with stress. Cortisol, which is released in response to stress, can interfere with testosterone production and negatively affect sperm count.
There are many different ways to reduce stress, such as yoga, meditation, and aromatherapy. These methods can help to restore balance to the body and reduce the negative effects of stress on hormones.

8. Quit smoking

Smoking has been linked with a number of health problems, including DNA damage and decreased sperm count. A study by Lai et al. (2013) found that smoking causes significant DNA damage in the sperm of smokers, which can lead to decreased fertility and increased rates of miscarriage. Another study by Bohlin et al. (2010) found that smoking can decrease sperm count by up to 34%, and that this decrease in fertility is even more pronounced in men who smoke more than 20 cigarettes per day.

9. Get enough sleep

Sleep is important for all aspects of health, including reproductive health. A lack of sleep can decrease testosterone levels and reduce the quality of your sperm. Aim to get at least 7-8 hours of sleep every night.

10. Herbal therapy

Some traditional herbal medicines have been shown to have a positive effect on sperm count and quality. For instance Ashwagandha is an herb that has been traditionally used in ayurvedic medicine to treat a variety of issues ranging from anxiety and stress to infertility. There is some evidence that ashwagandha can help increase sperm count and improve sperm quality. One study found that men who took ashwagandha for 90 days had a 17% increase in sperm count and a 35% increase in sperm quality. Another study showed that ashwagandha improved the motility of sperm and increased the percentage of normal sperm cells. Ashwagandha is available in capsule or powder form and can be taken daily.

Conclusion

If you and your partner are trying to conceive, consider making some lifestyle changes. Natural male fertility strategies like the ones we’ve talked about in this blog post can make a big difference when it comes to boosting sperm count. Talk to your naturopathic doctor about which of these 10 methods might work best for you and start making some changes today. By taking charge of your health, you increase your chances of achieving a successful pregnancy.

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20/Sep/2022

What is a healthy lunch for school kids?

You want your kids to have a healthy lunch, but you’re not sure what that looks like. You know they need protein, carbs, phytonutrients and fibre, but how much of each? And what are some good sources of each? Here’s a quick rundown of what a healthy lunch for school kids looks like.

Protein

Kid’s need about 5-6 ounces of protein per day. As a parent, it can be difficult to ensure that your child is getting enough protein in their diet. The good news is that there are plenty of great sources of protein available, including lean meats, tofu, beans, lentils, nuts and seeds.
However, one challenge parents may face is finding ways to work around common nut and seed allergies. If your child or a classmate is allergic to nuts or seeds, be sure to check with your naturopath or pediatrician for suggestions on alternate sources of protein. There are plenty of good options available, including lean meats, tofu, beans, lentils and plant-based protein powders.

Carbs

Carbs are the body’s main source of energy. Kids need about 3-5 ounces of carbs per day. Complex carbs are the body’s main source of energy. They are made up of long chains of sugar molecules that the body can slowly break down and use for energy. Simple carbs are made up of short chains of sugar molecules and the body can break them down quickly for energy. Good sources of complex carbs include fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Some examples of complex carbs that kids would enjoy include:
-Oatmeal
-Quinoa
-Brown rice
-Sweet potatoes
-Fruits like apples, bananas and berries
-Vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower and carrots

Phytonutrients

Phytonutrients are important for kids because they help protect against disease and promote good health. Phytonutrients include antioxidants, which are important for helping to protect the body from damage caused by harmful molecules called free radicals. Free radicals can damage cells, leading to diseases such as cancer. Antioxidants help to counteract the effects of free radicals, preventing or slowing down cell damage. Some good sources of phytonutrients for kids include fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices. Some examples of antioxidant rich foods that kids would enjoy include blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, cherries, tomatoes, bell peppers, broccoli, kale and spinach. These foods are packed with nutrients that are good for kids’ growing bodies.

Fibre

Fibre is an important part of a healthy diet. It helps the body feel full and can help with weight loss and maintenance. Kids need about 25 grams of fibre per day. Fibre comes in two forms: soluble and insoluble. Soluble fibre dissolves in water and can help lower cholesterol and blood sugar levels. Good sources of soluble fibre include oats, legumes, apples and berries. Insoluble fibre does not dissolve in water and helps with bowel regularity. Good sources of insoluble fibre include whole grains, vegetables and fruits with skins.

Conclusion

A healthy lunch for school kids should include a variety of protein, carbohydrate and fiber-rich foods to ensure that they are getting the nutrients they need to stay energized and focused throughout the day. While nuts and seeds are healthy sources of protein, fat and fiber, there are other healthy alternatives for those whose schools do not allow them. Parents should always consult with their pediatric naturopath, pediatrician or dietician to create a healthy lunch plan that meets their child’s specific needs.

 


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21/Jul/2018

It’s the summer of 2018 and it’s a hot one. Having fun in the sun is what we dream about all winter long and while we do benefit from some sun exposure (boosting levels of vitamin D and serotonin) we must also balance sun exposure with sun protection. In this article I will outline some general guidelines with reference to safe sun exposure, getting enough vitamin D and how consuming certain foods may help further protect us during recommended exposure times.

Exposure

According to recent research we now know that vitamin D is not only important for strong healthy bones but also plays a role in preventing some chronic diseases like Multiple Sclerosis and Cancer. So we need to know some general guidelines for getting the right amount of sun exposure while helping protect ourselves from damaging UV radiation.

In 2001 the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency set out to determine daily UV radiation levels in major cities across Australia. How much sun was needed to produce adequate levels of vitamin D and how much exposure could produce damage to the skin was investigated. The general guidelines to come out of the report were as follows: In the peak of the summer, July and August in North America, “2 to 14 minutes of sun three to four times per week at midday will give fair-skinned people with 15 per cent of the body exposed the recommended amount of Vitamin D. However, redness (skin damage) can occur in only eight minutes in these conditions.

So in peak summer times from 10 am to 3pm, you should use protection against the sun; shade, hats, clothing, sunglasses and sunscreen.

But earlier in the day and later in the afternoon, for a similar period of sun exposure and vitamin D manufacture, you get much less skin damage.”(http://www.abc.net.au/health/thepulse/stories/2006/04/05/1609208.htm)

For the months just before and after the peak summer months (June and September) the study revealed that the time of sun exposure needed for adequate vitamin D levels increases to 10 to 15 minutes 3-4 times per week. In the fall, winter and early spring months we need short periods of exposure during peak times of the day 10am-3pm in order to make enough vitamin D.

Sun-Blocking Foods

The question then becomes; in those times of recommended sun exposure how do we further protect ourselves from the damage of UV radiation? Part of the answer may be in the food we eat and beverages we drink. UV radiation helps us to make important compounds such as vitamin D but it can also cause damage to our cells. Cellular damage occurs via the production of inflammation and damaging compounds called free radicals. Some important compounds in our diet that combat inflammation and free radicals are: Omega-3 fatty acids and Antioxidants.

Antioxidants are compounds found in fruits and vegetables that serve to protect the plant against the harmful effects of its environment, including UV radiation. Many of these antioxidants incur the vibrant colors we associate with fruits and vegetables onto them.

Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant found in red colored fruits and vegetables such as: Tomatoes, Watermelon, Guava, Grapefruit, Papaya and Red Peppers including Chili Pepper. Lycopene is most easily absorbed when it has been cooked, making tomato paste and cooked tomatoes an excellent source of bio-available lycopene. Not only does this antioxidant protect the fruit/vegetable from UV damage, when we consume lycopene, it protects our body as well.

Anthocyanidins are a group of antioxidants that incur free radical protection and have a dark red or purplish color. Rich sources of anthocyanidins include: Blueberries, Acai, Pomegranate, Blackberries and Cherries.

The flavonoid antioxidants in green tea include the very powerful polyphenol EGCG. EGCG has not only been shown to inhibit tumor cells in some cancers but has also been shown to protect cells from the aging effects of UV radiation. Particularly matcha green tea (pulverized powdered tea leaves) can be 137 percent higher in EGCG than regular water infused tea leaf. Dark chocolate is also very high in phenols and can incur a 25 percent increase in sun tolerance at 2 ounces of over 70% cacao per day.

Another compound important for protecting our body against the potentially harmful effects of sun exposure are omega-3 fatty acids. These fatty acids help to drive an anti-inflammatory pathway in the body. Radiation and chronic disease induces inflammation which can lead to cellular damage and premature aging. Fish is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, particularly Salmon, Herring, Mackerel, Trout and Sardines. It is recommended to eat at least 2 servings of high omega-3 fish per week or to take a fish oil supplement daily.

Another good source of omega-3 fatty acids are flaxseeds. Flaxseeds also contain compounds called lignans which may protect against the development of some cancers. It is recommended to have a half teaspoon of ground flaxseeds per day or a flaxseed oil supplement.

Although these are all specific examples of foods rich in sun protecting compounds, a good general rule of thumb is too eat plenty of vibrantly colored fruits and vegetables which will undoubtedly be rich in antioxidants. It is also just as important to limit foods which can cause free radical damage and inflammation, these include: sugar and red meats.

Equip your body with sun protecting foods and follow the guidelines as to when to allow for uninhibited sun exposure. By doing so you will make the D and be problem free.

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18/Apr/2018

A Naturopathic Doctor can play an important role in managing CMT through dietary counseling, specialized testing and by offering relevant integrative therapies.

CMT is a hereditary disorder affecting the motor and sensory nerves.  It’s characterized by progressive loss of muscle tissue and sensation in various parts of the body. Currently CMT is incurable and is the most common inherited neurological disorder and affects approximately 1 in 2,500 people.

In terms of managing CMT, by far the most important goal is to maintain movement, muscle strength and flexibility. Often overlooked is the role diet, pain management and antispasmodics can play in CMT. Having a naturopathic doctor familiar with neurological conditions can be a valuable part of a healthcare team.

 

Sugar

Although sugar is sweet and delicious, at high concentrations it can become a poison for the nervous system. Uncontrolled blood sugar, including diabetes, will exacerbate nerve damage and peripheral neuropathy in CMT. A naturopathic doctor can test blood sugar in order to determine if it poses a risk. Dietary counseling, such as education around glycemic index and glycemic load, can help balance blood sugar levels. There are also effective strategies that can boost insulin sensitivity thus lowering blood sugar. These include; low impact exercise and supplements like chromium, berberine, agaricus mushroom, american ginseng, and vitamin B3.

 

Diet

A diet rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds can greatly improve neuromotor and locomotor performance. Curcumin and vitamin C are two natural compounds that have been and are currently being investigated as potential therapeutic agents for CMT. One study demonstrated a decrease in neuron death and an increase in size and number of nerve sheath cells after administration of curcumin. Intermittent fasting is a diet strategy that promotes a 16 hour fasting period each day and has been shown to improve locomotor functioning in CMT patients after 5-months.

 

Nerve Pain

Nerve pain and neuropathy can be addressed through a few different approaches. Application of topical counterirritants such as capsaicin and menthol can work by overriding pain signals. Peripheral pain blockers work by re-routing pain signals locally at the source of the pain. Effective peripheral pain blockers include: acupuncture, electro-acupuncture, moxabustion and transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS).  Central pain blockers block or override pain signals where they are interpreted, in the brain. Central pain blockers include cannabis, wild lettuce and california poppy.

 

Cramps and Spasms

There are many effective integrative therapies for cramps and muscle spasms. These therapies work by balancing electrical conduction at the muscle and stimulating inhibitory neurotransmitters. Some of the most effective therapies are: magnesium, acupuncture, GABA, valerian, cramp bark, skullcap, passionflower and cannabis.

 

Nerve-Protection

One of the largest areas a naturopathic doctor can serve as a crucial part of the integrative healthcare team is in offering strategies to prevent further nerve damage, and in some cases reversing existing nerve damage. Neuroprotectants generally belong to two main categories: antioxidants and anti-inflammatories. Neuroprotectant antioxidants include: alpha lipoic acid, glutathione, resveratrol, EGCG, flavonoids, Co-Q10, CBD and THC. Anti-inflammatory strategies include testing for food sensitivities, hormone levels and environmental toxins.  Anti-inflammatory supplements include Omega 3 fatty acids, curcumin, boswelia, and CBD.


dr_shawn

Patient focused integrative health care. Utilizing effective natural approaches designed to be used alone or to compliment conventional medical care.


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